ASEAN energy ministers are set to join their peers from Japan, South Korea and China to set up an oil stockpiling working group.
Stockpiling would however be voluntary and non-binding. Asean has been looking at oil stockpiling for several years, but no country has initiated strategic reserves to help deal with supply disruptions. The Philippines has now offered to be the centre of regional stockpiling facilities.
The Asean+3 initiative will also move forward with plans to develop the use of civilian nuclear energy. This is an initiative that has raised eyebrows as the region is prone to earthquakes and some say lack of technical skills to manage the plants. Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have announced plans for nuclear plants already and have stirred concern and protests in the several countries. The Philippines and Malaysia are also said to be considering the option.
Last year, an ASEAN meeting formed a committee to look at the safety issues for nuclear energy but no report on the issue has been issued.
The annual meeting of the Association of South-east Asian Nations’ (Asean) energy ministers in Bangkok on 7 August focused on energy security at a time when the region’s oil imports are rising and prices are near record highs.
Energy ministers had also praised countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand for having started cutting costly fuel subsidies.
Source: TODAY, Oil Stockpiling, nuclear energy a possibility, 8 Aug, http://www.todayonline.com/articles/269518.asp